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Indexation is no increase: Albanese government spin hides entrenched poverty crisis
Albanese government boasts of “increase” to Centrelink payments harms welfare recipients and perpetuates the same myths as Morrison
Welfare recipients will be no better off despite claims that indexation is an “increase” to Centrelink payments.
As Albanese, Chalmers and Rishworth condemned millions to continued poverty last week by refusing to respond to desperate please for higher welfare payments. They are now further perpetuating the harm by falsely equating payment indexation to a payment “increase”.
Included below: comments from the Antipoverty Centre; background statistics and data sources; crisis line contact information.
The government is weaponising labour market shortages, refusing to support people despite the structural barriers to work faced by the vast majority of welfare recipients and continuing of workfare policies that make it harder to get a job. This feeds relentless media poor bashing.
The Jobs Summit offered nothing to respond to the barriers to paid work created by poverty and “mutual” obligations, or to give us meaningful prospects of our lives improving.
$1.78 a day indexation for the base JobSeeker rate offers no relief for the millions of people subjected to poverty payments and the treatment we receive in the media. Indexation is designed to ensure that payments do not fall behind CPI, however CPI is an inadequate measure of rising living costs for people on low incomes in urban areas – it doesn’t even attempt to measure the pressures facing those in remote areas.
The reality is that people on welfare are suffering each and everyday and we will continue to suffer unless politicians stop justifying cruelty and stop forcing us to try and survive in poverty. People are being forced into homelessness, with the maximum rent assistance of $72 a week a pittance compared to median rent of $508 per week. Some properties have increased by $100 a week between tenancies.
More people will starve themselves, more people will become homeless, and more people will die for as long as the government refuses to spend money and use its vast resources to help us.
Quotes attributable to Antipoverty Centre spokesperson and DSP recipient Kristin O’Connell
Every time this happens we receive an influx of messages from people in extreme distress – psychological and financial.
The welfare system is killing people and it’s only getting worse. These choices politicians are making directly harm us.
It is not “financially responsible” to leave millions relying on poverty payments. It is not “financially responsible” to deny us the ability to pay for food, healthcare, rent and bills.
Welfare recipients are the best budgeters in the country and we can tell the government one thing: If you are forced to choose between luxuries and essentials, you have to prioritise basic needs. And Albanese is failing in his duty of care to ensure everyone can afford to have their basic needs met.
Quotes attributable to Antipoverty Centre spokesperson and JobSeeker recipient Jay Coonan
It’s clear this government doesn’t want to do a thing about the poverty crisis. In fact, they are politicising it.
The unemployment rate doesn’t tell the story about what’s happening in reality, but it’s a perfect scapegoat they use to justify doing nothing for the millions who can’t afford to eat, who have no secure place to live, or are at risk of losing their home.
Poverty is by design and Albanese has committed to keep millions below in poverty line while we face a cost of living crisis.
The prime minister seems more interested in spinning the truth, hoping no one will notice he’s forcing people to survive on payments as low as half the poverty line. It’s farcical for Labor to claim they’re the party of the working class when they are happy to crush the poor just as much as the Coalition.
We are constantly at breaking point. We can’t take anymore pathetic government virtual signalling or platitudes from paid advocates.
Not only does Labor punish us with “mutual” obligations and refuse to make Centrelink payments liveable, they are more aggressively chasing so-called debts from the poorest while giving tax cuts to themselves.
They pat themselves on the back for the Jobs Summit “consensus”, but all it means is they agree with the millionaires and billionaires that our lies are worth nothing. It would have been inconvenient to heed the calls of unemployed advocates and ACOSS to allow our objections to be heard, either inside or outside the building.
Media contact: 0403 429 414 / media at antipovertycentre.org
Background and key statistics
Click here to download a more in-depth background document compiled earlier this year containing additional statistics and links to all data sources.
The cost of basic necessities increases at a dramatically faster rate than optional items, having risen by 61.4% and 38.6% respectively between 2005 and 2020. The cost of some vegetables has more than doubled in the past two years.
About 200,000 people on unemployment payments, or 1 in 5, are employed.
Crisis support and counselling services
If you need support you can seek guidance, counselling or crisis help from the below organisations or talk to someone you trust.
Suicide Call Back Service – general: 1300 659 467
SANE Australia – general: 1800 187 263
13YARN – for First Nations people: 13 92 76
National Counselling and Referral Service – for disabled people: 1800 421 468
Headspace – for young people: 1800 650 890
QLife – fo LGBTQIA+ people: 1800 184 527
Full Stop – for people who have experienced sexual harassment and assault: 1800 385 578
Embrace Mental Health – multilingual service: embracementalhealth.org.au
MensLine – for men: 1300 789 978
Brother to Brother – for First Nations men: 1800 435 799
About the Antipoverty Centre
The Antipoverty Centre was established in May 2021 by people living on Centrelink payments to counter problems with academics, think tanks and others in the political class making harmful decisions on behalf of people they purport to represent.
We have deep expertise in poverty, disadvantage and unemployment, because we live it. Our goal is to help ensure the voices and rights of people living in poverty are at the centre of social policy development and discourse. We believe there should be no decision made about us without us.
The Antipoverty Centre is not aligned with any political party and does not accept funding that places political constraints on our work.